There is a revolution coming in the network equipment industry and it was awe-inspiring to recently be in the presence of the revolutionaries. They represented some of the best and brightest minds in the network industry, assembled for a full day at SRI in the heart of Silicon Valley.
The Infrastructure 2.0 Working Group held its first meeting at the request of three networking legends, Dan Lynch (the founder of Interop), Vint Cerf (one of the father’s of the Internet) and Bob Grossman (one of the fathers of cloud computing). Its mission: to transform the economics of IT by driving the development of new capabilities into the network that will unleash the power of virtualization and cloud computing. (That’s the best I can do until the next invitation-only meeting.) You can access the agenda via the link.
The day started out with lively introductions by Dan Lynch and Bob Grossman, followed by Vint Cerf’s immaculate moderation. Much of the discussion focused on the challenges of addressing and authentication in new fluid environments and all of the emerging unintended use cases emerging in IT on top of a somewhat unprepared network that is getting increasingly complex to manage.
More mobility plus more complexity equal a coming collision between expectations and realities, initiatives and expenses.
Most networking vendors are clueless about the coming collision and entertain the illusion that IT will settle for increasingly complex VLAN empires as virtualization-lite proliferates on the back of the cascading capex effect. They will be the victims of the revolution as their habitats shrink.
The “speeds and feeds” group will experience ever longer sales cycles and ever increasing pricing pressure while the infrastructure 2.0 vendors deliver powerful new network economies that justify new waves of investment.
Those who are the first to let the genie of virtualization truly out of the bottle will have strategic advantage over those who attempt to be close followers. The network will go through its own wave of cascading capex as it takes virtualization to the next level.
That’s why I think that VMware and Cisco’s early moves to deliver on the promise of infrastructure 2.0 capabilities have positioned them well for the revolution. Their cooperation is a game changer if they can deliver on the promise of the revolution while peers parry over cloud definitions and dozens of rat hole issues or try to fight the trend.
We are entering a new period of disruption where the manually-managed network becomes increasingly obsolete and enterprises that discourage innovation in their IT shops face increasing competitive pressures.
Welcome to the revolution.